River: Avon River, Christchurch, NZ
River Conditions: 1.54 cumecs at Gloucester Street bridge. Water mostly clear. Grade 1.
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm, strongish nor-easterly wind.
Number on Trip: 1 person.
Time on River: 1 hour.
Comments: I was considering going for a bike ride for the Aotearoa Bike Challenge but the warm weather convinced me that I needed to take the new Blitz Special out for a test run. So I got changed, picked up the boat and carried it across the Red Zone to the river, fastened the deck and with a splash, launched into the river from the bank. I had only planned to go for a short paddle to make sure the new boat was comfortable and watertight, but once on the water I found myself powering upstream.
It was nice to be out on the water and was good to get a feel for the Blitz Special. It felt very similar to my Blitz (not exactly surprising given it’s basically the same boat), but it was much easier to push the bow underwater by leaning forward and the lower volume tail would easily slice in when pushing round sharp turns. Should be fun to take it out next time I’m heading for the Hurunui.
The water was clear and reasonably swift around the Barbaboes Street Cemetery, where the banks had closed in a little due to lateral spreading during the quakes. The section is quite pretty and allows you to escape into the “countryside” whilst paddling through the Central City.
Eventually I reached the spot near where we used to live and where I used to launch my old Dura before I took to the white water. As part of the post quake redevelopment of the river, they’ve modified the shallow Fire Station “rapid” to form riffles and have placed some rocks along the edges to form eddies, plus adding additional plantings to make it more natural. Kind of fun, but a little to swift and shallow for me to get any further upstream so I turned and headed for home.
The trip home was a lot quicker with the current helping. I passed the guy pictured above on the way up and then again on the way back. He was paddling a very old looking fiberglass canoe, with two smallish dogs sitting up the front and every time they saw a duck or something, they would both start barking and then the guy would try and quieten them, they made quite a racket.
Eventually I passed under the Swans Road bridge and pulled over to the left bank and scrambled out of my boat, pulled the boat out of the water and wandered home through the Richmond Community Garden for a well deserved shower and a rest.